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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wacky Wednesday #7: Fran the Fruit Lady

 

So who knows where I come up with this stuff, but recently I got it into my head that I needed to make a fruit dress and of course, a fruit head piece to add to the fun. The headdress is kind of Carmen Miranda-ish. But Carmen wore fruit on her head only and I don’t want to limit the fruit-accessorizing to one part of my body. Clothes with something unexpected on them are just so fun to wear. Anyway, I’ve been having great fun sewing these fruit shapes. I’ve been coming up with fun names, too: Fruit Frau. Fruitenstein. Fruitopia. Fruity and Loopy. Fruit of the Loom. Any other ideas?



 
When I make these wacky creations, I often just start with whatever I have on hand in my studio. It’s fun to see  what kind of inspiration comes from supplies I already have. I had enough green fabric to make a skirt (a good background color for my fruit buffet, I think). But not enough for a dress. Of course, I had a green tank top I could wear along with the green skirt. The tank top had been in my “deal with later” pile. (As the name suggests, this collection includes projects that I’ve started but that haven’t gone as planned. No need to throw these projects away. Save them for future projects. Months ago I’d dyed the tank top green but it hadn’t turned out as I’d hoped. So this week I dyed it again, and now it makes for a good backdrop for my fruit shapes.) Trash to treasure. Voila!



Shoes seem like such a minor part of the equation but shoes that keep with the theme really tie the whole effect together. This pair of shoes has fruit on it today but that is a temporary effect. This is the third WW when I’ve used this pair of shoes.  


As for the headpiece, I knew I could buy plastic fruit shapes, but I prefer the challenge of making my own. I decided to make some grapes from plastic Easter egg halves and (of course) hot glue. I like that the effect isn’t 100% realistic. The whimsical nature of it appeals to me more than something realistic. I made other fruit shapes  out of felt and Styrofoam balls. Bust out the hot glue and some rhinestones. Let’s get our craft on! Here’s the bird’s eye view of my hat. Fun, fun, fun, with a cherry on top.


This morning I did my weekly volunteer work at my daughter’s school. I collect money that the kids bring in for their savings accounts and I bring it to the bank. The kids liked my costume and one girl offered to eat my candy gummy earrings for me. And then she offered again. And then she insisted. Thankfully, the school bell rang and my earrings were saved from digestion. The checkers in the super market loved my costume and my friends at the gym were also amused. Someone hadn’t eaten before his workout and threatened to nibble on my hat.

For anyone who is interested, here are the supplies I used in this creation:

·         Cotton fabric

·         Fabric pens

·         Sharpies

·         Styrofoam balls

·         Felt

·         Cotton batting

·         Plastic Easter eggs

·         Elastic

·         Hot glue

·         Humor

·         Gummy cherry candies (as earrings)

Just a random (ish) thought on the kind of costumes I like making: for now, I get a lot of satisfaction making something I know most people will recognize, rather than something more obscure. And I like that you don’t have to speak English and read my lengthy descriptions to understand what I’ve created. People from different countries and who speak other languages recognize a parrot, or fruit, or a nest, so I can amuse people even if we speak different languages. I’ve said it before: funny is the universal language!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m now putting photos of some of my creations on Instagram. I’ll still be blogging here as well, because I have lots to say and this is a great place for my stories. If you have any chores you’re putting off (hee hee), you can check out additional photos I’ve posted at https://instagram.com/sarahconleyartist.  You won’t be procrastinating. You’ll be supporting my artistic endeavors. Win, win!
 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Insta-Gratification




As of last week I’ve tiptoed onto the Instagram bandwagon. Not sure if I’ll run with it but I’m testing the waters. For me, trying Instagram isn’t about being trendy. It’s a way to show my art and costumes to others and to share my humor, too. I also have some ideas for public art this summer and I think this will be a good way to show photos. If you’re on Instagram, take a peek at my profile:


If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can still see photos at their site (but you can’t comment on them). I’m not trying to find millions of followers all over the world—I’ll leave that to rock stars and reality show folks. But I’m making a lot of art these days and it makes me really happy and I want to share the fun. I’ll still post photos and stories here on my blog, of course. My friends and family are waiting on the edges of their seats for the next Wacky Wednesday post and I don’t want to disappoint. In fact, another WW post is just a few hours away…

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Open Season



This gorgeous coral-colored epihyllum gave me a delightful surprise just now when I was outside and caught sight of a huge explosion of color where yesterday there was a closed blossom.

Isn’t it amazing? It’s the first time this plant has bloomed so I’m extra giddy. I didn’t even remember which color the bloom would be, as I bought this plant a couple of years ago and it takes that long for it to produce its first bloom. (See, my forgetfulness is an asset when you consider how much I like surprises.)

I didn’t have as many epi blooms this spring. Last year I had at least a dozen and this year I think I’m getting three, so I really appreciate this bloom. They only stay open and fresh for a short time (literally a day or two) so you have to enjoy the show while it’s happening. With that said, I’ll sign off to go gaze at my epi a little more…

 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ready? Set? Open!


For the last week the Gladiolus in our back yard has been hinting at a show. Well, she has decided that the time is right and now she has opened. It’s a show that’s even prettier than I expected.




The story starts months ago, when a friend from the community garden left me a few bulbs as a gesture of thanks after I shared some Canna lily bulbs with her. She told me what the bulbs were but I half-forgot, which was actually a good thing because then I got to enjoy a surprise once they grew. What’s especially fun is that my friend doesn’t know how obsessed I am with bright pink and she happened to give me a Gladiolus that blooms in white and dark pink. Yipppeeee!

When the gladiolus flowers start to peek out of its green sepal jacket, their ruffled edges look like a closed parasol. And when they’re ready to bloom the parasol opens up to a beautiful pink blossom. Excellent timing, Gladiolus. You knew San Diego would be getting rain today and your cheerful umbrellas are have opened right on time.



 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wacky Wednesday #6: Feathering the Nest


Check out the surprise in our apricot tree.
 

There are apricots on our tree. Oh, and a nest!

The nest has two darling eggs in it. But wait, there’s something unusual about this nest.
 
It's a hat!



Yep, it’s Wacky Wednesday, folks, and that means I’m bringing the silly fun to a computer screen near you. Yesterday I busted out the hot glue gun, some scraps of felt, and began gathering sticks outside. (I’m environmental—I’m reusing old sticks. And plastic Easter eggs.) I’m not sure how I got the idea for a wearable nest. But the idea popped into my mind and after an hour with the hot glue gun, the nest popped onto my head.

I’ve worn my nest hat for several hours today and people seemed to get a kick out of it. I wore my hat to the gym, and it stayed on. To ensure nest balance I made sure my posture was good, so there’s actually a benefit to wearing a nest. Who knew?! At the supermarket a man asked to take a photo of my hat. Of course, I said yes. At the checkout, the checkers loved it. I don’t think they get many weird hats coming through the line, so something unexpected gives them a laugh. The kids at school were surprised and intrigued. But the best reaction came from my friend’s daughter Julia, a first-grader. Julia spotted me at pick up. She whispered to her mom, who turned around, spotted my hat and said, “Julia was talking about you this morning. Once she realized it was Wednesday she said she couldn’t wait to see what Sarah was going to do for Wacky Wednesday.” I bent down so Julia could see my hat at her own eye level, and I gave her a high five. I was so touched that Julia had noticed my Wednesday creations and looked forward to them. I hope I don’t run out of wackiness and disappoint people. (What am I talking about? There is no limit to wacky possibilities. There is no chance of running out of ideas. I think I could do this for years!)

As you know, summer is coming. I have wacky costumes planned for the remaining Wednesdays in the school year but I’ve considered taking a few Wednesdays off this summer, while the kids aren’t in school. But there seems to be a small following of WW fans at my gym, too, so I may not take the summer off from wackiness after all...


And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go work on next Wednesday’s wacky fun. It’s coming along quite well and I’m excited about it. A hint, you ask? Never! I can’t ruin your surprise. Oh, all right. A small hint. It’s colorful. Oh, and of course, wacky!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Art In Progress

Been in my home art studio a lot lately, working on several art projects and listening to Weird Al. Most of these projects are in my new favorite form: wearable art. So many art ideas. So little time. I won’t tell you much about what I’m working on because the element of surprise is so fun for me. The big reveal works best if you haven’t seen a lot of the earlier stages.
There are dozens of tiny scraps of fabric on my art studio floor right now. But I’ve decided to embrace the fact that sometimes I make a big mess. For me, slowing down to clean up as I go would completely extinguish the momentum of creation and the joy it brings me. So I’m going to be messy. I won’t even hide the evidence. (Mess can get out of hand, yes. And not all places should be messy. You don’t want an operating room to be messy. But a messy art studio is a sign that the artist is inspired! Turning ideas into art! Busy! Happy! Productive!)
I think I’ll be uncharacteristically brief today and leave it at that. I’ll let the pictures do the talking:



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wacky Wednesday #5: Polly the Parrot is Back!

It’s Wacky Wednesday once again, and rather than whip up a costume from scratch (which I love doing, but it takes some time), I decided to bring back a costume from a few years ago. It's a costume I created for Halloween and after all the hours I spent with my hot glue gun to make it, this costume deserves another day out in the sun. This is Polly the Parrot, y’all. She’s colorful, she’s squawky, she’s loud and loves to bring some fun wherever she goes.


She did the weekly banking with the school kiddos this morning. She has no fingers but can count all the way to 1,000 on her feathers.

Polly likes to roller skate, because even parrots need a break from flying once in a while. A bird really shouldn’t have upper body strength only, so Polly works her legs out, too.

 



 
All that roller skating builds up an appetite. Does Polly want a cracker? Squawk! (Yes!)



Have a wacky, wonderful Wednesday, everybody!

 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Moms R Us


So what’s a mom? A woman who has a baby or child? Yes. Or adopts or fosters one? Yes. Or becomes a nurturing mother figure to someone? Yes again.

Being a mom is work. It is a privilege, a gift, yes, but it is work. I fall into bed each night as though someone has just yelled “TIMBER!” and with an echoing thud my body crashes into the mattress. I’m spent. Being a parent isn’t for wimps. (I’m a wimp when it comes to cold temperatures and scary animals like snakes, lions, tigers and bears, rats, tarantulas and sharks, but those of us who choose parenthood have a certain bravery that even lion tamers can’t match.)

I’m having a great Mothers’ Day. I’m alone at home, listening to wind chimes and birds’ chirps. I’m riding a creative tidal wave and I’ve already made almost a dozen sketches of art ideas and costumes to create. I have so many ideas ricocheting around in my head that I don’t even finish one sketch before starting another—I don’t want them to disappear before I can get my ideas out!
 
Having a little time on my own today is terrific. For me, Mothers’ Day isn’t about getting jewelry or candy. I got cards from my kiddos, which they created in school and are touching and adorable. Here’s the message inside one of the cards. It’s so cute:
 
I don’t know if I’ve made pumpkin pie more than once or twice. (And by “made” I mean this: tossing a frozen one from the store into an oven and returning 45 minutes later to retrieve it.) And 91 pounds? At 5’7”? Not so much. But otherwise it’s a good summary of my life and of me.

A hug and a few sweet words are really all I need. Hubby gave me a flamingo lawn ornament—he knows about my love of flamingos, of course. All I wanted for today was this: not to have to do much of anything. Yes, I’ve made breakfast for the kids. It hasn’t been a day off from all chores. But that’s okay. They went out and I’m having a little quiet time for this brain to dream up fab art ideas. It also feels good to be appreciated today. Kids sometimes forget that we moms are not here solely to scrub toilets, scrape cheese off the floor, wash a million dishes, police homework time, referee the countless arguments the kids have, and worry about whether we’re saying “yes” and “no” in the right proportions. Sigh. So yes, on this day, it feels great to be appreciated.

Do you know the comic strip Baby Blues? It’s hilarious. I love how the creators Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott capture parenthood so completely in just a few sentences.
 
 
And it’s so much better to laugh about all the crazy moments of parenthood than to pretend we all live like the Leave it to Beaver family, with the spotless house, the poised and polished mom June, and nothing that can’t be fixed in a twenty two minute tv show.

What’s a mom? There’s no one answer. Some are big, some small. Some are loud--some quiet. I believe most of us are not Stepford Wives (and for me, that’s not the goal). Although some moms really do seem to have it all together. They’re completely organized, impeccably dressed, and never late. But most of us are a lot more human than that. And that’s okay. We can be great moms and be imperfect. In fact, I like showing my kids that grownups aren’t perfect and that the kids shouldn’t pressure themselves to be, either. (I don’t think there’s any doubt in their mind about my being human. The leaning tower of dishes next to the sink is one tip-off.) Sometimes we hula hoop instead of doing the dishes right away. We goof around a lot. Sometimes I yell too much and overreact and I apologize later. I’m human, and they love me that way.

I’ll share a funny story about my son. This epitomizes my life. I have a great life, so I’m not really complaining—just sharing an anecdote that speaks volumes about motherhood. One night, a few years ago, my son came and found me. I was reading in bed, my nightly treat right before I nod off. He asked me for a drink of water. I looked at him and said, “I am in bed, after racing around for fifteen hours. Dad is still up and about. You can’t ask him for water?” To which my son replied, “Well, I didn’t want to bother Daddy.” Welcome to motherhood. It’s exhausting. It’s messy. It’s imperfect. I’m forgetful. But I try hard, and they see that. I’m very lucky.
Happy Mothers’ Day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Check out my ‘Chokes


So I’ve been chattering about my artichoke plant lately. This was my first artichoke plant and it has amazing timing. It had lots of artichokes on display last Saturday during the garden tour. I think I had beginner’s luck because supposedly they aren’t even supposed to put forth artichokes until the plant has settled into its dirt home for a year or two. Mine must be a Super ‘Choke, because it is producing. All I did was water it. There are 19 artichokes on my plant—some still quite small but growing. The center one I’m going to leave to flower. It’s as big as a cantaloupe right now. Just sayin’.

This morning I cut three of the larger ones off the plant and hopefully I’ll turn them into artichoke fabulousness this weekend. ‘Til then, though, I may turn them into jewelry. I’ve been working out my earlobes at the gym lately. They can each bench press 185, so hanging artichokes from them won’t be a problem. I think artichoke earrings could be the hot accessory this spring…
 
 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wacky Wednesday #4: Fun for the Head and Ears

In all honesty, I wasn’t planning a Wacky Wednesday for today. It usually takes a week or two of preparation to develop something for WW. I just survived a super busy weekend so I was going to let today be Boring, Old Wednesday.
 

But the universe wasn’t having it. Apparently I’m supposed to bring fun to most--if not all--Wednesdays. Last night I felt inspired to throw together a design idea I’d been mulling over for a while. I had all my supplies on hand, which helps when you decide to do last-minute wackiness.
If today’s wackiness had to have a name, I guess I’d call it “Princess Lea meets Wind Turbines and Pom Poms.” It’s a mouthful, yes.
 
 
The embodiment of wackiness? It could be me, yes...
 
 
What’s really fun about today’s WW is that there is enough of a breeze to spin my pinwheels, which is so much more fun than pinwheels that are still. And you can’t plan the weather, so I guess the universe really did want me to share the wackiness today.
Recently I discovered that I did not come up with the delightful name “Wacky Wednesday.” There is a book by that title, but it isn’t one I’ve read yet. Clearly I should. It sounds super! I must have seen the book at my daughter’s school and my brain filed it away and then regurgitated it as its own invention. So I want to give props to the author who dreamed up that title, Theo LeSieg. (A pen name for Dr. Seuss—whose last name, Geisel, indeed would be LeSieg, spelled backwards. Oh, that rascally Dr. Seuss. He used his imagination in so many different directions and ways…) I will happily borrow that name on certain Wednesdays.
 
This is only my second time posting video on my blog but I wanted to show that the pinwheels are turning. I’m no techie, so if the sound (me saying, “WheeeeEEEE!”) doesn’t come through, just pretend it’s a silent movie from the original days of cinema.
 

 
Well, my pinwheels and I are off to spin in the breeze. Hope your Wednesday is wacky in all the right ways…!

Monday, May 4, 2015

A-B-C, Easy as 1-2-3

Mondays need all the help they can get, as I’ve said more than once. So if you have a chance, wear something that gives you a boost on Monday. For me, that was a dress I just finished today, Monday. I’m calling it my “A-B-C, Easy as 1-2-3” dress.
 



Its story begins more than a year ago.

One day I found some fun, colorful fabric at a thrift store and bought it for $3 or something like that. I had immediate plans to transform it into a fun dress. Fast forward a year or more. Finally I’ve made the dress I was all set to make the day I discovered the fabric. A reasonable person might ask, “Sarah, why did it take you more than a year to make such a delightful dress?” What do you think the answer is?

A)     I had so many future sewing projects already and this one ended up waiting a while.

B)      The kids kept me busy 16 hours a day for the last year+.

C)      I cut the fabric wrong early on and didn’t want to deal with figuring out how to fix it.

D)     All of the above.

Yep, you were right: D!

I’ll share a few more details because I’m very human and I’ve decided it is much better to share my wacky mistakes than to pretend I don’t make them. I really did cut the fabric wrong. In my enthusiasm to get this dress going, I forgot that I couldn’t just fold the fabric in half, cut once and make a front and a back. I ended up having a piece with upside down ABCs. Ooops. Even as wacky as I am, I didn’t want my ABCs to be upside down on one side and right side up on the other. The solution? Put the fabric away for approximately a year until I ran across it again and gave myself a talking-to along these lines: Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, this is insane. You need to turn this into a dress. No more waiting.

And so I finally did. And I’m biased, but I think it does bring some cheer to Monday. I posed in a Kindergarten classroom at my kids’ school because this A-B-C dress goes very well in that setting.

The fringe at the bottom of the dress is actually quilt binding, cut into pieces that are approximately 4” long. I decided on the multi-colored effect because I had quilt binding in six fun colors and an extra colorful border on a colorful dress makes for EXTRA FUN!

If you happen to have colorful accessories (and clearly I do), this dress calls for them. I paired the dress with bright pink shoes, a pink hat and multi-colored pom-pom earrings I made from felt. Add polka dot sunglasses if it is sunny. If you don’t have polka dot sunglasses, you can create some quite easily if you have nail polish. Add random dots of colorful nail polish to your sunglasses and allow to dry. Even sunglasses need some personality.

 
Well, I hope you’re surviving your Monday. On my coast it’s inching toward Tuesday, which means Friday is almost here. (Yes, that interpretation might be a little optimistic but let’s go with it. Let’s think positively.) Happy Monday!